The Road to Cologne: Qualifiers

The qualifiers for ESL One Cologne 2014 CS:GO Championship are running at full steam, with teams from all over the world competing to join the Legends of Katowice at the $250,000 Cologne event.

Congratulations to iBUYPOWER, who won the North American qualifier and will compete in Cologne.

European Qualifiers

Europe’s qualifiers have already seen the rise of top teams from the North, South-West and South-East, with four teams per region claiming a position in the European finals. The open qualifier remains (July 22nd – 24th), so there’s still a chance for your favorite team to grab one of the last four spots.

The top 16 teams from all regions will meet July 26th-27th to determine six of the teams going to Cologne. Find details on the qualified teams and the open qualifier at the European qualifier portal at

Oceanic Qualifiers

The Oceanic region saw the first of two qualifiers earlier this week. Vox Eminor, who participated at Katowice, as well as Qlimax, Fallen and Avant Garde, have taken the first step toward earning a ticket to Cologne.

The second qualifier starts on July 19th, and concludes with the finals on the 20th. Head to the Oceanic portal for more details:

Make sure you keep an eye on for more updates about the 2014 ESL One Cologne CS:GO Championship.

Good luck to all teams on their road to Cologne!

Summer is heating up

Today’s update introduces the all new eSports 2014 Summer Case, along with a host of updates to gameplay, maps, Operation Breakout, and more!

It’s been a little over a week since we launched Operation Breakout, and as CS:GO players have learned more about each map, we’ve had an opportunity to look at our data and see how each map stacks up.

In terms of overall playtime, there are some obvious trends: Black Gold and Castle have taken the lead in overall playtime. Meanwhile, in competitive matchmaking, Insertion has been the most popular operation map, generating over 32 ‘player years’ in playtime so far.

We can also compare preliminary map balance data to some well-known maps:

Here, even with just a week’s worth of data we can see that Mist and Overgrown are the most balanced of the operation so far, each only slightly favoring the T or CT side.

Community map makers have been quick to respond to your feedback since the start of Operation Breakout, so keep playing and let them know what you think!

Operation Breakout

Operation Breakout has arrived, bringing ALL CS:GO PLAYERS unlimited access to a collection of six top-rated community maps!

Access Granted

Get the most out of Operation Breakout by purchasing an All Access Pass! With an activated pass, you’ll get an upgradable Challenge Coin along with a huge list of features.

First, the Breakout Pass gives you access to mission drops, which you can receive wherever you play CS:GO. Completing missions will help you upgrade your Challenge Coin, and will also reward you with one of 45 exclusive weapon finishes from three new weapon collections: the Baggage Collection, Cobblestone Collection, and Overpass collection.

The All Access Pass also gives you exclusive access to the Operation Breakout weapon case. Featuring great community designs, the Operation Breakout introduces the brand new Butterfly Knife.

You’ll also be able to keep track of your accomplishments with the Operation Breakout Journal. The Journal will separately track key stats for your official competitive matches on all Operation Breakout maps, as well as for all Active Duty maps. Want to see how you stack up to your friends? The Operation Journal also includes a Friends Leaderboard, where you can compare your progress throughout the operation.

Today’s update includes all of this and more, so pick up your Operation Breakout All Access Pass and go go go!

ESEA Season 16 LAN Finals

This weekend features the ESEA Season 16 LAN Finals, where CS:GO teams from around the world will meet in Dallas, TX to compete for an $85,000 prize pool.

The event will broadcast throughout the weekend, so don’t miss a minute! Head over to the ESEA LAN schedule and find out when the next matches begin.

Balancing Act

We’re working on the next update for CS:GO, and we’ll have many more details soon. In the meantime, we wanted to give you a heads up on one of the things we’re working on.

When we released the USP-S and M4A1-S as part of the Arms Deal Update, our goal was to add variety to the weapons players typically see in a match and to give CS:GO players more opportunities to demonstrate their skill in weapon selection.

So far, the results of that experiment have been a success. Prior to the Arms Deal Update, the M4A4 represented 65% of CT’s primary weapon purchases during full-buy rounds.

After launch, players were evenly split between the M4A4 and the M4A1-S. Over time the M4A1-S has gained in popularity, though other primary weapons remain popular options.

Following the same principle, we took a look at other highly-used weapons.

Pistols are popular in CS:GO, and until a few months ago no pistol was more popular than the P250. Occupying more than 70% of all pistol purchases, the inexpensive P250 was a clear candidate for an alternative weapon.

We intended the CZ75a to provide new gameplay opportunities among the pistols, while generally increasing the variety of weapons used in that category.

Initially the results were promising: early on, CTs were split between the CZ and P250, and the Deagle and Five-SeveN were unaffected. But over the past few months, the community has changed their behavior around the fully-automatic pistol.

The CZ is currently the most purchased pistol, and its popularity has cut into the usage of every other pistol.

Our goal was to increase variety in pistol selection, but the CZ is starting to have the opposite effect. So in next week’s update, you can expect us to make some pistol changes.

Even small changes to gameplay can have a large impact on the rest of the game, and often this impact won’t be observed until a few months later. In the case of the CZ, it took over three months for player behavior to shift. As a result, whenever we make a change to the game, we generally try to give the community time to learn and adjust.

We’ll have more details about the next update soon, so stay tuned!